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A year ago this morning, I sat in a quiet hotel room. It was 7am, your papa was in the shower and I was waiting for room service to arrive. It was raining outside and I remember thinking how people tell brides that rain on your wedding day is good luck. Was it good luck or was it something you just say to keep a bride calm? I didn’t know for sure but I was going with the luck thing. I was determined to look on the bright side that day. Rain or shine.

I turned on the news but that didn’t seem right. I mindlessly scrolled through instagram but that didn’t seem right either. Maybe crawling into the plush hotel robe would comfort me? That day, of all days, I needed to be as zen as possible and I was searching for any kind of distraction.

The only thing I could think to do was to close my eyes and take a deep breath. There it was…you. I pictured you. I didn’t know if you would be a boy or a girl but somehow, I could see you. I could clearly see all the love I had been storing up for you. I could practically feel the millions of kisses I’d give you. I could almost touch the little body I’d hold. And your giggles and soft coos were echoing in the distance. I wanted today to be different than all the other mornings your papa and I had in the past like this. I tried my best not to think about it too much but I was only kidding myself.

Before I knew it, we were in Dr. Potter’s office – nervous, hopeful, excited, nearly fainting…A year ago, March 7, 2016, you were placed into my uterus and by God’s grace,  you were home. You were ours. You were the one that hung on. You were the one meant for us. It brings tears to my eyes just knowing that it was you all along. All my hopes and dreams and prayers were for you, my Landin Lucca.

And here you are today, a whole 365 days later, in the flesh. The girl with the wide eyes and sweet disposition. My little observer with the chunky thighs who just goes with the flow. My little sidekick and forever bestie. You’re an angel and the brightest light. Watching you learn new things daily absolutely takes my breath away. And don’t even get me started with that dang dimple!

It’s amazing to me how quickly I have forgotten the years it took papa and I to get to you. I guess now that I get to hold you in my arms, it’s clear to me that it was always you. It was all worth it for you. So today, my sweet babe, I want to say thank you. For making me a mama, yes, but for coming along when you did. I feel so incredibly blessed to get to raise you. To be here for you and get to be the one on the other end of your smiles. To protect you and nurture you and teach you. I can’t promise that I’ll always know what the heck I’m doing, but I can promise that you will always feel loved and wanted. What a gift you are to me. I hope you always know that.

Happy coming home day lovie, because a year ago today, you officially became a part of me.

  • Heidi R. - This is so beautiful. <3ReplyCancel

  • Auntie Megan - Life just wouldn’t be the same without you, sweet Landin!! Your words are so perfect, mama!ReplyCancel

  • Lily - Ala, so beautifully written. What an inspiration to others out there that may need. Thank you for sharing your amazing story and your sweet, beautiful girl. XO!ReplyCancel

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I haven’t posted on the blog in a while. If I’m being honest, I don’t really know what to write. In the past, I spent so much of my time waiting, wishing, hoping to get pregnant. I wrote to help me deal with things or to keep me positive. I was trying new approaches, meeting new doctors, reading all the things. When I finally found out we were expecting a child, I was at a standstill. I was so used to NOT getting pregnant, that when I found myself on the other side of things, it was foreign territory!

I always imagined being pregnant but I don’t think I ever could even wrap my mind around it actually happening. Even 6.5 months in, I don’t entirely know that I’ve processed what the heck is going on. If you ask me how it’s going or if I love being pregnant, I’ll probably stare at you blankly because Steve still has to convince me that this is even happening. Most of the time I feel like I’m dreaming! (I know I probably need therapy, right?)

I will say that I was so very naive about it all. I didn’t consider the daily worry about yourself and your child and that it starts THE SECOND you get that positive test. Is she growing on track? Is her heart beating? Is what I’m eating good enough? Am I talking too loud? Will sex screw things up? How many times has she moved today? Why does this part of my back hurt? Is that a contraction? How will I know?

What I do know is this – things are happening. In real life! Quicker than I’d like but they are happening and they are my new normal. And even though I’m driving myself crazy most of the time, I kinda love waking up daily to something new that I get to obsess over. Because this is all I ever prayed for. To be here. Yes, my nipples are leaking already, I have zero bladder control when I sneeze and at any given moment in the day I’m forgetting something important. But, every time I pass my reflection, I stop and I marvel. THIS IS ME. This is my body that’s stretching. A human life is growing inside this here belly. A little one who kicks and twirls and stretches and it is just the most amazing thing.

So I guess I do love pregnancy. It’s not this magical, unicorn and rainbow filled thing, but it is something that takes my breath away more times than I can count. And how do you not love that?

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On March 18th, I went into Dr. Potter’s office and gave blood. I had been in those shoes before, 5 times to be exact – with 2 other doctors and 10 other embryos. I knew the day was going to be nerve-wracking. It always is. By that point, I could probably have taken a home pregnancy test but sometimes those are wrong. Sometimes it’s too early or you get a bad batch or your husband makes you promise you’ll stay away from analyzing those evil pink lines. I planned to at least try to keep myself busy without going crazy or bursting into tears at any given moment but really, who was I kidding?

I had a good feeling about this time, but every time before this try, I was sure it had worked only to have my heart broken. I bought a new camera, I took all my equipment in to be serviced, I bought a donut, I got my eyebrows waxed, I strolled every damn aisle at target. I finally made it home and laid down for a bit to breathe. I nervously called my mom, I checked my email a few hundred times. Every second that passed felt like an eternity. I could literally hear each tick the hands on the wall clock made. I prayed for peace. For calm. For pure thoughts and a positive mind. I turned on the tv but not even that could distract me.

I was starting to go crazy. I started to cry and my heart felt like it was going to beat right on out of my chest. I heard Steve’s phone ring and I think I stopped breathing for a moment. The tension and stress of all the waiting was just too much. This day was long enough! I stepped out the front door and paced. I wondered what was taking so long for the nurses to call with my blood results. Was this a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe it’s taking so long because it’s good news. Or wait, it’s probably bad news and they’re gathering up to nerve to tell me. I noticed I was barefoot pacing outside with mascara under my eyes and I probably looked insane but at that point, I didn’t even care. All I could tell myself was to be strong. No matter what happens Alicia, be strong. You will survive. Today will be the best day or the worst but I promise, you’ll get through it. I hated giving myself a pep talk but I knew I needed it.

Finally I heard the front door open. Your papa took a deep breath and with the biggest smile said my favorite words, “WE’RE PREGNANT”!! I fell into his arms and wept, half believing him, half thinking I was hallucinating. Could this even be real? He held me for as long as I needed him to. I can’t remember how long it was but I know his tight embrace was his way of showing me this was real. I sat down on the stairs and listened to him repeat everything our nurse had told him, most of it going in one ear, out the other. Not because I didn’t care, but because it didn’t matter. At that moment, I knew our family was about to grow and my heart immediately doubled in size for you.

It’s a strange phenomenon having your husband tell you you’re pregnant but it really does sum up the way life happens for us. Nothing has ever been normal. It’s definitely something we’ve gotten used to and now we openly embrace and expect. Although it was probably the most stressful day in recent memory, I love how it all went down. I love that your papa found out about you before I did. He doesn’t get the honor of carrying you for 9 months but he did have the privilege of knowing about you first. I just love that. How many fathers get that moment all to themselves, even if just for a few seconds? It just makes our story that much more fun and exciting to tell you when you are old enough to understand. And I can’t wait!

  • Andrea - Oh this made me sob like a baby!!! Gah I just love you two and am so happy I also love how Steve knew first! You are so right it is an absolute blessingReplyCancel

  • LIly - I just sit here at my desk and read your posts… and CRY! HAHAHAHAHA! I just love you two… I MEAN THREE <3ReplyCancel

  • glady - i loved reading this so much. so special, friend. love you! <3ReplyCancel

  • April Barba - My heart swells for you all. Your faith, perseverance, and hope is inspiring. I fell in love with you both from the first blog/story of Steve’s proposal to you and have been in adoration since. Just when I think it can’t get any sweeter, things like this prove that love is endless and endures all things. I continue to rejoice for you! – with faith, hope, and hugs- April BarbaReplyCancel

alababy-announcement-1001

After 37 months of trying to get pregnant, 12 embryos, 6 IVF cycles, 3 doctors and 2 surgeries, it is finally our turn!!! We are finally going to be parents! I AM GOING TO BE A MAMA! Tears come to my eyes whenever I say that – I am going to be a mama. I’ve prayed day and night, crying on my knees for this to come true and it still feels so surreal that I’m living my dream at this very second. I can honestly say that I’ve never worked so hard for something in my entire life and it was worth every single moment.

To the beautiful little soul growing inside me right now, I have so much written for you that I cannot wait to share with you one day. You are so loved already. You have been prayed for and wished for and hoped for. We are the luckiest to get to nurture and love you for the rest of our days. November cannot come soon enough, my littlest love!

  • gladys - tears & goosies. the joy i feel in my heart for the three of you is out of the world. so so so happy!!! congratulations cortez family! we love you <3ReplyCancel

  • Lily - Leaving you comments every where because I’m soooo happy for you guys, Hahahaha! ❤️ Congratulations again! XO! ReplyCancel

  • Carolina A - Congratulations!! I am beyond happy for you.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Miller - Crying tears of joy for you mama! Congratulations on receiving the ultimate blessing!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - Totally worth reading it all! We must have gotten pregnant at the same time. My angel baby was to be due in November, as well. A perfect month, in my opinion! I know the motherhood journey is a lifetime, but to make it this far is a HUGE accomplishment. Sending you good vibes of rest, comfort and relief (as I know that is the #1 feeling that makes my day in this leg of the journey). XOReplyCancel

Even though we’ve chosen to openly share what we’ve been dealing with the last 3 years, there’s still a whole lot that we only share with close family and friends. Like test results, or embryo genders, or images from surgeries. But sometimes, I wanna twirl around and shout things from rooftops! It could be because any little piece of good news we hear excites us OR it could be that sometimes, things are just too damn amazing and special to keep to ourselves. Whatever the case, this is one of those things that I just can’t keep to myself.

When we decided to switch doctors last November, it was mentioned that we’d have to move our embryos from our old lab to the new one. Being such precious cargo, I assumed there was a service that does this for you, complete with a suited man driving an armored car led by a police escort. You can imagine my surprise when I found out this was not the case at all! When I heard the other transportation options, a courier or us, I kinda flipped my shit. Some non-official delivery dude or nervous as crap us? Neither sounded appealing and I pretty much didn’t sleep over the matter.

When the time actually came to transport them, though, I felt completely different. I put my big girl mama pants on and was determined to figure it out. So, last Friday, Steve, the kids and I drove from Redondo Beach to Newport Beach. There were no car seats involved. Just a big ol’ tank filled with liquid nitrogen and tubes containing all of our teeny tiny embryos, driving down the 405 in the carpool lane. We looked a lot different than most families but for us, we were so proud. It was our little family, on our first little road trip.

We were so in awe of the whole experience and the fact that THIS IS OUR LIFE! that we didn’t document it entirely but here are some moments from our experience. I get so emotional just thinking about the day that I get to show our children all they went through before they grew in mama’s belly. How lucky we are to live in a day and age that such medical advances are even possible. How fortunate we are to have such a hardworking papa to afford such a miracle. I can’t wait for that day and I hope their eyes light up as much as mine do when I watch this.

  • Heidi R. - This is so amazing and I’m all weepy now!!! Love you guys. Can’t wait to meet those kids in person.ReplyCancel

  • glady - ahhh. i just watched the video twice and have goosies. so amazing! love you cortez family <3ReplyCancel

  • Meg - you guys are the best … kisses for those little kiddos and their parents!!!ReplyCancel

  • megan - baaaaaaaah I’m weeping. love you little cortez bebeees!!! You have such an amazing mama and papa!! Cant wait to meet you!ReplyCancel

  • Lily - Ala!! This is AMAZZZZZING! I can’t wait to see you carrying these beautiful little babies in your belly! Love you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Carly Bass - This is so utterly beautiful! I am so in awe of both your guys strength! We pray for you guys every day and that you get to meet you little one(s) soon XOXO – CarlyReplyCancel

  • Natasha - Why am I crying?!?! I cannot wait for this to happen for you xxxxReplyCancel

  • Em - Amazing!!!!!!!! What a special memory you guys will always have and I can’t wait until you get to share this with your kids.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - Loved the video! In anticipation of holding my future grand babies in my arms, I have such admiration and love for the strength, beauty and faith you both display each day. Your excitement, joy and hope over the next steps in building your family is heartfelt and zealous! Prayers, love and support forever. Nana ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Loved your video! I’m in the EXACT same situation as you right now, and it’s quite the wild ride, isn’t it?! Sending positive thoughts and vibes your way:)ReplyCancel

  • Laura Klein - This is so sweet. I hope this happens for you two this year! So excited and hopefull for good news :) You two will make great parents. Lots of love and hugs,
    LauraReplyCancel